What is the First Computer Virus in the Philippines?

ILOVEYOU, also known as the Love Bug, infected millions of computers worldwide and caused significant damage while awakening many to cyber security risks.

Onel de Guzman, then an undergraduate student at Manila’s AMA Computer College, created the virus as part of his undergraduate thesis without realizing its scope and impact. He never imagined its spread, which caused such widespread chaos.


What is The First Computer Virus in the Philippines. Computer viruses can wreak havoc in an increasingly technological society. In May 2000, ILOVEYOU–more commonly known as the Love Bug–was released on humanity and quickly caused widespread havoc. Spread through email attachments disguised as love confessions, the virus overwrote important system files before sending copies to everyone in its victims’ address books.

Social engineering techniques were pioneered by this worm, making its debut just over one decade after its initial appearance. Furthermore, its widespread infection affected 45 million computers globally and resulted in over $8 billion worth of damages.

De Guzman managed to avoid legal prosecution for his massive computer attack using aliases as a form of protection. Today he lives a quiet life in Manila while running a phone repair shop at a shopping mall.


The ILOVEYOU worm was one of the most far-reaching and devastating computer viruses ever created, starting in the Philippines before spreading rapidly by exploiting technical vulnerabilities and social engineering techniques. It sent copies of itself out as emails purporting to come from trusted senders; all told, its impact was estimated between $5 to $10 billion dollars worth of damages.

Police tracked the virus’s creator to his apartment in Manila and arrested him, only for him to be later released due to no laws against hacking at that time in the Philippines.

Onel de Guzman later admitted he created the worm to gain internet access by stealing passwords from Outlook address books, never intending for such widespread destruction to ensue; rather he simply created malware as a hobby. Unfortunately for de Guzman though, his hobby changed the world of cybersecurity forever as it exposed how vulnerable our systems could be and exposed a complacent public to cybercrime’s dangers.

ILOVEYOU malware

In May 2000, the ILOVEYOU virus infiltrated millions of computers worldwide via email. By exploiting people’s natural curiosity by sending out attachments with “ILOVEYOU” as the subject line, this malware would soon begin its destructive spread, overwriting important system files and eventually leading to computers crashing and losing data – not to mention sending copies of itself directly to contacts in victims’ address books.

Onel de Guzman, then 24-years old college student in the Philippines who struggled to afford Internet access, created this worm after submitting his undergraduate thesis proposal which involved creating a trojan program to steal passwords for Internet accounts – only for his professors to decline it and force him out of AMA Computer College.

He later blamed his professors for being rigid and said that his virus never intended to do any damage; nonetheless, no charges were brought because at that time there were no laws against hacking or writing malicious software in the Philippines. Today he lives and works in Manila at a phone repair booth.

ILOVEYOU exploit

ILOVEYOU, also known as the Love Bug, was one of the most widespread computer viruses ever to infiltrate millions of computers around the globe through email transmission and exploits in technical vulnerabilities and human behavior. Although quickly contained through antivirus updates and patches as well as user awareness training efforts, its legacy serves as a stark reminder of malware’s threat and calls for continued vigilance against it.

The virus was initially classified as a worm, yet displayed behaviors more characteristic of viruses. Worms differ from viruses in that they do not require activation by users to replicate themselves and can infiltrate multiple points on networks and the internet, infect multiple files, such as pictures and movies and word documents, then delete them altogether. When journalists tracked down Onel de Guzman – its creator – working at a mobile phone repair shop. He stated his regret at having written such an infamous virus.